Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Battling brothers: Taylor and Granger

ALL THE BROTHERS WERE VALIANT (1953). Director: Richard Thorpe.

"Joel Shore is not afraid of the devil himself -- just don't go lookin' for him, that's all."

In this remake of a silent film with Lon Chaney, Joel Shore (Robert Taylor) sets sail as captain of the whaling ship Nathan Ross with his new bride, Priscilla (Ann Blyth). Both of them assume that Joel's brother, Mark (Stewart Granger) is dead, but when he turns up alive talking of pearls and adventure and narrow escapes, it causes trouble between the brothers. Mark wants to go back for the pearls, but when Joel objects, afraid of how greed will decimate the crew, Mark convinces Priscilla that her husband is a coward. Then the men decide to mutiny ... Frankly this picture would have been better if they went after the pearls or just stuck to whaling. The only good and exciting scene in the entire movie is when they hunt down a whale whose enormous tail capsizes their much smaller boat [not the Nathan Ross but a special whale boat]. If the whole movie had been handled as well it might have amounted to something. The three leads do the best they can, and there are smaller roles for Lewis Stone, James Whitmore, and Keenan Wynn, all of whom are wasted. Director Thorpe does not seem overly enthused by the material, and even the mutiny is awkwardly done and has no dramatic flair. I could swear I spotted a bearded Paul Frees [Space Master X-7] as one of the sailors but he's not listed in the cast.

Verdict: Too bad the silent version is lost; it had to be better than this. **.

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